I’ve got a stack of books all touting allergen free recipes in my kitchen cupboard. Problem with most of these books is that they call for ingredients that are hard if not impossible to find. Seriously, how many people have heard of arrowroot powder for example. Even if you have heard of the ingredient, finding it is another issue. I recently spent weeks seeking out Sorghum Flour, only to give in and order it online forcing me to not only wait for the flour but pay shipping as well.
The whole experience is frustrating to say the least. In the event, anyone else feels the same, I’ve decided to share some of my easy to find substitutions in regular recipes to achieve allergen free treats. As far as baking goes, this refers to wheat, soy, milk, eggs, nut and corn. Corn is not a top 8 allergen, but I’ve recently seen more and more requests for corn free treats.
Wheat substitution: For a gluten free treat, there are gluten free baking flours – ready to go. These are expensive and I’ve found a lot of success and saved money with a White Rice Flour, Tapioca Flour, Corn Starch mix. Use in a ratio of 2:1:1 respectively (1c -1/2c- 1/2c). For every cup of flour mix add 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum. You can find these flours at most stores and most certainly at Whole Foods. Other flours that are also great for baking: Brown Rice Flour, Potato Starch and if your can find it Sorghum Flour. Make sure to read your labels. If you have a nut allergy there’s a very popular brand of alternative flours that clearly states on the package that their flours are made on shared equipment with tree nuts.
Soy substitution: Soy seems to be everywhere, especially once you begin to notice it. Vegetable oil usually contains soybeans and so does vegetable shortening. Some suitable substitutions are Canola Oil or Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Shortening, it’s made from palm oil. Both can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio.
Milk substitution: Removing milk in a recipe means to remove butter as well. For milk I use Rice Milk and for butter I use vegetable shortening in a 1:1 ratio. Coconut milk and coconut oil are also good options and while it’s technically a fruit, some are concerned it’s a nut, so I personally avoid it but I’ve heard it yields great results.
Egg substitution: There are many choices for egg substitutes but my favorite is applesauce. You can use 1/3 cup applesauce for each egg. The applesauce adds moisture to your baked good so don’t use it if your recipe calls for oil vs butter or shortening. If your recipe calls for oil you can use a banana for each egg needed. There is also a powdered product that is an egg replacer called Ener G available at Whole Foods. When applesauce makes for too much moisture and you want to avoid the flavor of banana in your baked good, this is a good alternative.
Nut substitution: If your craving peanut butter cookies, Soynut or Sunbutter are great substitutes. If you are looking to add crunch, rice cereal is good. If you feel your banana muffins need something else how about adding some dark chocolate chips instead of nuts.
Corn substitution: For gluten free flour, potato starch is a great substitution for corn starch. If you bake with baking powder, corn starch is usually an added ingredient. To bake without baking powder, substitute baking soda and cream of tartar using a 1:2 ratio respectively. Be mindful of your powdered sugar if corn is an issue. Many powdered sugars are made with cornstarch. Organic powdered sugar is a great substitution, it typically uses tapioca starch instead of corn starch.
Now, in the course of my allergen free baking, I’ve found that substitutions can sometimes interfere with the chemical reaction needed to create the right texture and leavening in your baked good. After research I learned that baked goods require ingredients to have certain weight ratios with respect to each other for the chemical reactions to do their magic. These ratios are:
Sugar must weigh the same or more than the flour
Eggs must weigh the same as the fat (your butter, shortening or oil)
Eggs plus milk (or your liquid) must weigh the same or more than the sugar
Your are free to break out your kitchen scales or you can check your recipes against some standards weights I have for you listed below: (ingredient/weight per cup)
Cake Flour/4.1 oz
Egg White Only/1.1 oz
Egg Yolk Only/.6 oz
White Rice Flour/5.6 oz
Brown Rice Flour/5.6 oz
Tapioca Flour/4.2 oz
Corn Starch/4.5 oz
Sorghum Flour/4.5 oz
I’ve found I’ve had to tweak the proportions of my ingredients in some of my recipes, especially when making substitutions, in order to achieve a desirable result.
I hope you find these substitutions and tweaks helpful. If baking is not your thing and you need some allergen free treats, feel free to visit my website www.dreamydessertshop.com. I’d be happy to bake them for you.